Originating in Wales, this sturdy member of the Terrier Group was bred to hunt badger, fox, and otter. Historians generally agree that the Welsh Terrier is descended from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier. Some of England's earliest sporting prints portray couples of roughcoated black and tan terriers, similar to the modern Welsh Terrier. It is reported that as far back as 1737 considerable in-breeding took place in order to preserve the purity of the breed-a practice which, no doubt, established the strong Welsh character of today.
The first show at which separate classes were held for Welsh Terriers was held at Caernarfon, Wales in 1885. Then, as the popularity of the breed grew, classes were put on throughout the British Isles. In 1886 The Kennel Club (England) sanctioned the Welsh Terrier breed standard and, basically, this same standard is in use today. In Britain a slightly larger dog is preferred. This is one of the characteristics that distinguishes this breed from the Lakeland Terrier, whom the Welsh Terrier closely resembles. Another is his coat which is always black (or black grizzle) and tan. Because of this colouration the Welsh Terrier is popularly compared to a "miniature Airedale." But the Welshman is very much his own breed. Spunky, loyal, and an excellent watchdog, the breed still retains much of its hunting instinct. It is said that with very little training he could be used as a gun dog.
The first two specimens of the breed came to America in 1885. Both were imported and shown by Mr. Prescott Lawrence. The Welsh were first shown in separate classes in 1888 and in 1903 the first Welsh Terrier champion was recorded in the American Kennel Club Stud Book.
In Canada the breed was first shown at a Toronto dog show held in conjunction with Canada's Industrial Exhibition. These were British-bred Welsh Terriers imported from Glansevin Kennels by Miss Beardmore of Torrington Farm, Toronto.